(Photo source: ibo.org)
The mission of the International Baccalaureate (IB) organization is to create rigorous programs for students who aim to be well-rounded, balanced, and globally-minded citizens of the world. IB works to foster and nurture international-mindedness in the future generations that complete this program. Their goal is to help students navigate the complexities of the world with the values of being principled, balanced, thinkers, risk takers, open-minded, caring, knowledgeable, inquirers, communicators, and reflective.
Recently, the IB has taken a significant step toward achieving its mission through its Festival of Hope initiative. The initiative is a demonstration of how education can serve as an instrument of change, especially in a world grappling with numerous social, political, and environmental issues. With the push for “Choosing Change,” international schools are encouraged to actively bring forth their stories of hope and positive change (ibo.org).
What Does the Festival of Hope Aim to Achieve?
The Festival of Hope is an endeavor initiated in September 2022 that aims to:
“The Festival of Hope is a reminder that we can find meaning in little acts of kindness, small changes we make in our everyday life, and in the small-scale activities we engage in with our local communities.
We wanted to create a space that sparks creative ideas, where we can inspire and empower each other and take action together. This is the way to make a big impact: when our heads, hearts and hands work in harmony.” (ibo.org)
- Empowers Action: The initiative focuses on the social-emotional wellbeing of students, ensuring that they are better equipped to handle the challenges of life. It is an invitation to think boldly, nurture curiosity, and empower students to act for change. We are encouraged to “do more together” by partnering with organizations to put hope into action.
- Foster Creativity: IB has always valued and promoted problem-solving and innovation as essential skills for the future. Through the Festival of Hope, IB has emphasized creativity as a core competency. There are many opportunities available through live and virtual interactions to find amazing stories of hope and also contribute towards them.
- Service and Sustainability: Service and sustainability form a cornerstone of the Festival of Hope, encouraging students to partake in green initiatives and engage with the community. Through the promotion of volunteerism and community service, the campaign seeks to instill a sense of responsibility towards society.
How Does This Festival Spread Hope?
IB is harnessing the potential of social media to spread hope. Students, teachers, and alumni can participate from across the globe in various social media events. They can also upload their stories, initiatives, and examples of instilling hope directly on the webpage.
- The Festival of Hope provides a platform for panel discussions that host experts in various fields to ignite constructive dialogue on pressing issues.
- Celebrating diversity is another key objective of the festival. Schools and students can find an avenue to get involved and showcase their art and culture highlighting the richness of global cultures, stimulating a sense of unity amidst diversity. Here is an example from UWC Atlantic College, Wales.
- The Festival of Hope is gathering momentum for its innovative approach to empowering student voice and action. It is inspiring international schools to be ambassadors of change in their respective communities. You can see examples on the Festival of Hope YouTube channel.
“At the heart of Festival of Hope is the need to think boldly, inquire bravely and act together, in response to the interconnected global challenges that we face.”
This IB Festival of Hope initiative transcends educational paradigms. It endeavors to shape students who are not just academically proficient but are also socially responsible, environmentally conscious, and emotionally well-rounded individuals. While this initiative is a beacon for international education, it also offers numerous avenues for further research and development. If you are interested in contributing or finding out more, check out these social media handles and the links in this article for specific information.
YouTube: Festival of Hope
Together we can celebrate the Festival of Hope to guide us to a better future.
Shwetangna Chakrabarty is the Editor at The International Educator (TIE).